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Details of national anti-corruption watchdog revealed on eve of bill’s introduction to parliament | “Politicians have been put on notice”: CEO Megan Motto

Governance Institute of Australia has strongly welcomed the announcement that the National Anti-Corruption Commission legislation will be introduced to Federal Parliament tomorrow, saying it is a major step forward for integrity across Australia.

In advance of the bill’s introduction, the Federal Government today revealed details of the scope and powers of the new National Anti-Corruption Commission, announcing it will have powers to:

  • investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the Commonwealth public sector by all politicians, officials, and contractors, ensuring that any person who seeks to adversely influence a public official to do wrong will be covered
  • investigate retrospective allegations of serious or systemic corrupt conduct
  • hold public hearings only in exceptional circumstances when deemed in the public interest
  • refer findings that could constitute criminal conduct to the Australian Federal Police or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Commission will be independent of government, with discretion to commence inquiries into serious or systemic corruption on its own initiative or in response to referrals, including from whistleblowers and the public.

Governance Institute of Australia CEO Megan Motto welcomed this announcement: “This is a historic day. The introduction of this long-awaited bill will be a major, much-needed step towards greater integrity, transparency, and governance in our public institutions.

“This will send a strong message through the corridors of power, help weed out corrupt activity – and act as a deterrent to those seeking to corruptly influence. While it has been a long time coming, we are now hopeful for a new era of trust, ethics and integrity across our federal institutions. No longer will public funds be potentially left at the whim of corrupt officials. Our politicians have been put on notice.”

Ms Motto said it is important the legislation now receives the appropriate attention and haste: “The strongest possible commission, legislated as soon as possible, must remain the priority.

“We are pleased the new Commission will have sufficient scope, jurisdiction, powers and resources to fulfil its purpose of promoting integrity, and therefore good governance in the public sector.”

Governance Institute will continue to closely monitor the passage of the legislation and looks forward to participating in the joint select committee to review the legislation.

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About Governance Institute of Australia
A national membership association, advocating for a community of more than 43,000 governance and risk management professionals from the listed, unlisted and not-for-profit sectors. Our mission is to drive better governance in all organisations, which will in turn create a stronger, better society.

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